The rehabilitated offices of the new Department of Urban Planning in Mogadishu Municipality (Benadir Regional Administration) officially opened on 10 September 2013. This was followed by a staff training session, the first module in an intensive geographic information system (GIS) course for the department’s newly recruited team, which includes an urban planner, a GIS team leader, three GIS operators, and six surveyors from the regional administration’s Land Department.
With funding from the British Office for Somalia, UN-Habitat has been supporting the establishment of the Department of Urban Planning through office rehabilitation, equipment, training, and on-the-job capacity building. The capacity building will use two pilot districts to start building the official GIS database for Mogadishu. A former project by UN-Habitat has already collected basic data on the city, which has now been institutionalized. The Department of Urban Planning will update and collect new data, with a particular emphasis on mapping public infrastructure to both improve the coordination of reconstruction projects and provide an inventory of public buildings and assets that have been occupied by internally displaced people, destroyed, or sold.
The department will mainly function as a centre for urban data that has not been available before. Part of the project will concentrate on a pilot household survey in one neighbourhood. This will be a learning exercise, and the data can be used for various purposes towards informed urban development planning. After the capacity building, the department will expand its work to all the districts of Mogadishu.
The results of the first surveys by the department and the previously collected data for Mogadishu will be presented in a Mogadishu urban forum in December. The forum will bring together the city’s stakeholders to initiate a discussion about development and planning.